SF Police: Senior citizen slams into Lutheran church, causes dam - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

SF Police: Senior citizen slams into Lutheran church, causes damage

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Sioux Falls police say a senior citizen was driving drunk and crashed into a Sioux Falls Lutheran Church early Friday morning.

It happened at 3517 South Gateway Blvd., which is just off West 41st Street.

Police say 73-year-old Robert Larson crashed into the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod just after midnight.

Police say Larson was trying to turn around in an apartment complex parking lot. Instead of putting the car in drive, police say Larson put the car in reverse and rammed into some air conditioning units. Then police say Larson floored it and that's when he hit some trees and drove into the side of the Lutheran church.

The church is now all boarded up Friday night. But if you think the damage is bad outside, we want to show you the inside.

"We found out last night. The fire department called about midnight and said you need to come down here. Someone came into your building," Randy Gayken said.

Business manager Randy Gayken was quite surprised when he got into work Friday and found this mess. The brick from outside is now laying inside. It also broke both windows. You can also see the insulation is now out in the open. Over closer to the church's hallway you can see the walls in both rooms shifted by this crash. The wall used to sit on a cement-like floor but is now exposed. If we take a look above, the ceiling light fixture is now hanging by just a wire.

Luckily, the two church offices were only being used for storage.

"It's not going to affect us greatly, but just a matter of inconvenience to use those rooms for storage," Gayken said.

Police Larson was driving a 2006 Jeep Liberty. He also had a passenger in the car with him, a 77-year-old woman. The woman broke her leg and was taken to the hospital.

Police also tell us Larson also hit two other parked cars in the parking lot. Gayken says this all could have been much worse.

"Life will go on and hopefully Monday they'll do some construction to fill the hole," Gayken said.

Church officials contacted contractors Friday and they said the building was structurally sound. Gayken says he doesn't know how much it will cost to fix the damage. As far as Larson, he has been charged with driving drunk. We don't know the extent of his injuries.

His jeep had $9,000 worth of damage.

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